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Former Washington Journalist
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Top congressional Democrats slammed Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the next federal fiscal year.
Trump’s spending plan would make deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, federal student loan programs and the program known as SNAP, otherwise known as food stamps.
On the other hand, it calls for big increases in defense, as well as another $8.6 million for his wall on the southern border, on top of the $7 million Trump already claimed for his wall as part of his declaration of a “state of emergency.”
Trump’s budget proposal also includes $750 million to establish a paid parental leave program and $1 billion for a one-time fund to help underserved populations and encourage company investment in child-care.
It also includes $291 to support the initiative Trump announced in February at his State of the Union to work toward the end of HIV infection.
Democrats were appalled by steep cuts Trump wants to make in many key domestic programs.
“The cruel and shortsighted cuts in President Trump’s budget request are a roadmap to a sicker, weaker America,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “House Democrats will reject this toxic, destructive budget request which would hollow out our national strength and fail to meet the needs of the American people.
“Instead of building a stronger, healthier nation, President Trump’s budget would take away Americans’ health care and devastate the pillars of economic security for seniors and families. After adding $2 trillion to the deficit with the GOP tax scam for the rich, President Trump wants to ransack as much as $2 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid,” she added. “While demanding billions more for his wasteful, ineffective wall, President Trump will steal from students and hungry families, from rural communities and American farmers, from clean air and clean water, and from vital, job-creating investments nationwide.
“The budget is a statement of values, and once again President Trump has shown how little he values the health and well-being of families across America. Democrats believe that hard-working families deserve a federal budget that is written For The People, not for the special interests and the wealthiest 1 percent,” Pelosi concluded.
Presidential budget proposals rarely make it into law as is, as Congress usually puts its stamp on federal spending. That has been historically the case, regardless of who the president has been. And it’s been the case thus far through the Trump presidency.
However, with his demand for funds for the border wall he wants, Trump has shown–with the longest federal shutdown on record and then his unilateral declaration of a “state of emergency”–that he is willing to go beyond what past presidents might have felt appropriate in order to achieve his budget and spending priorities.
This potentially sets up another contentious showdown heading toward October, as federal agencies need new appropriations or face another shutdown.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took the step Monday of releasing a joint statement just to address Trump’s new request for more money for his wall.
“President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall, which he promised would be paid for by Mexico,” the joint statement said. “Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson.
“At a time when our country faces challenges about jobs for the future, this money would better be spent on rebuilding America, and on education and workforce development for jobs for the 21st Century,” the joint statement concluded.